The women in tech who will be making DataFest20 a success

With International Womens Day coming on 8 March, we wanted to highlight some of the amazing women who will be giving talks at DataFest20 in March.

We believe in the importance of gender balance at our events and always make sure that speakers and panels are as equally balanced as possible. There are no excuses for failing to equally represent both genders; the pool of talented women in the tech industry is vast and of a truly high calibre.

Reading the biographies of these women speakers (below), it is very apparent that they have been chosen for their abilities and the quality of their achievements and careers, not for their gender. We’re looking forward to being inspired by them at DataFest20!

Why not come along and see them on stage? Book your tickets now.

We’re also inspiring the next generation of women in STEM with our WiDS event, working with the Turing’s Testers. Find out more.

Women Speakers at DataSummit20

Priya Lakhani
FMCG to AI Entrepreneur

After giving up a career in law to pursue a dream of running her own business, Priya built and sold a successful food brand. She then established a social enterprise before starting a tech company that brings together AI and education in order to understand how students learn and provide educators with an insight into how to create personalised education.

Caroline Criado-Perez
Campaigner & Author, Invisible Women

In Invisible Women, Caroline highlights the systematic, and often unconscious biases behind the data and assumptions that construct our everyday lives. From healthcare diagnoses to search algorithms, the over-reliance on men being the default standard has left women, and society as a whole, disadvantaged. Caroline’s book Do it Like a Woman also looks at female role models from around the world, and throughout history, reflecting her campaigns to see women represented on English bank notes (Jane Austen on a £10 note) and in Parliament Square (a statue of women’s suffrage campaigner Millicent Fawcett).

Hannah Fry
Mathematician & Broadcaster

Having studied fluid dynamics and working briefly in F1, Hannah returned to academia and now lectures in the mathematics of cities. She’s also a science broadcaster, bringing numbers and data to life on TV and radio in programmes including The Joy of Data, City in the Sky, and The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry. She examines how maths underpins almost everything and the world of data: how it’s gathered, what it can (and can’t) tell us, and how it’s applied from tracking down serial killers to predicting customer needs.

Edwina Dunn
Founder, The Female Lead
Director, Starcount

Edwina Dunn is one of the most successful leaders in the data industry, with a career of delivering transformational business change, together with her long term partner, Clive Humby. Dunn & Humby revolutionised the world of retail and consumer goods when they pioneered Tesco Clubcard and other global loyalty programmes, eventually selling dunnhumby to Tesco in 2011. At this stage, the business had 1,500 employees across 25 countries and managing engagement strategies for 350 million customers including Kroger, Macy’s and Best Buy. Edwina is now forging a new era of consumer insight and technology with Starcount. Her business is already working with some of the biggest and best global brands looking for new customer journey tracking and npd.

Athina Kanioura
Chief Analytics Officer

An accomplished innovator and data scientist, Dr. Athina Kanioura was a founding member of Accenture’s analytics business where she ran sales and customer analytics globally and drove the company’s offering development around customer relationship management and personalization. As Accenture’s Global Data Science lead for the past two years, she grew Accenture’s data science team to more than 3,000 strong. Most recently, she helped clients from the consumer goods, banking and telecommunications industry, where she is known for her deep relevance and impact.

Luba Elliott
AI Curator

Luba Elliott is a curator and researcher specialising in artificial intelligence in the creative industries. She is currently working to educate and engage the broader public about the latest developments in AI art through talks, workshops and exhibitions at venues across the art and technology spectrum including The Photographers’ Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum, Seoul MediaCity Biennale, FACT Liverpool, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, CogX and ICCV. Her recent curatorial projects include the award-winning ART-AI Festival, NeurIPS Creativity Workshop and the online gallery She has advised organisations including The World Economic Forum, British Council and City University on the topic and was featured on the BBC, Forbes and The Guardian. Previously, she worked in startups and venture capital and has a degree in Modern Languages from Cambridge University.

Rowena Humby

Rowena has recently been appointed CEO of Starcount, an insight technology business with a market-leading customer data platform that enables brands to upload their 1st party data and match it with the best of 3rd party data. Her business was recently ranked in the top 50 of the Deloitte Technology Fast Track and the Financial Times’ best upcoming consultancies.

Rowena started her career as a data scientist and moved into leading the data architecture and engineering team at Starcount. She has a strong background in new tools and technology combined with commercialising data.

Throughout her career, she has developed important client & partner relationships across industries such as media, retail, finance and automotive. Rowena specialises in creating automated DaaS and SaaS capabilities based on innovative development, tracking new trends through data and assessing global markets.Rowena has a BSc in Astrophysics from The University of Bristol. She is Trustee of the Foundation that runs The Female Lead, a charitable organisation dedicated to creating and promoting positive role models in schools and universities for future generations.

Shannon Vallor
Baillie Gifford Chair in the Ethics of Data & Artificial Intelligence,
Edinburgh Futures Institute

Shannon Vallor is the Baillie Gifford Chair in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence at the Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) at the University of Edinburgh, where she is also appointed in Philosophy. Professor Vallor’s research explores how new technologies, especially AI, robotics, and data science, reshape human moral character, habits, and practices.

Her work includes advising policymakers and industry on the ethical design and use of AI, and she is a former Visiting Researcher and AI Ethicist at Google.

Professor Vallor received the 2015 World Technology Award in Ethics from the World Technology Network. In addition to her many articles and published educational modules on the ethics of data, robotics, and artificial intelligence, she is the author of the book Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting (Oxford University Press, 2016) and the forthcoming Lessons from the AI Mirror: Rebuilding Our Humanity in an Age of Machine Thinking.

Ann Daniels
Polar Explorer

A former bank employee, Ann Daniels led the first all female team in the world to ski to both Poles. They suffered carbon monoxide poisoning and were hit by three storms so severe they were unable to erect the tent – but they still achieved their goal. Major life events didn’t stop Ann’s desire to return to the Poles, and in 2009, she was asked by Pen Hadow to be his head of ice operations for the ground-breaking Catlin Arctic Survey. This project completed a unique environmental study of the rapidly disappearing frozen Arctic Ocean. Ann was responsible for leading the team on the ice and finding a safe route, making difficult decisions in the most extreme environment on Earth for 74 consecutive days.

In 2010 and 2011 she also led the second and third Catlin Arctic survey, the only person to be invited to partake in all 3 expeditions. Ann continued to lead expeditions and in 2017 joined Bernice Notenboom’s expedition with Martin Hartley to ski the last 2 degrees to the North Pole working with NASA, The European Space Agency and other scientific bodies inserting ice tracker beacons and measuring the snow depth en route to help scientists understand this unique part of the world.

Whilst guiding a film crew in 2018 she continued this work with NOAA and the University of Washington and plans to return in the coming years to continue this important task.

Elizabeth Fairley
Talking Medicines

Elizabeth Fairley is a recognised entrepreneur with international experience of launching and scaling businesses. Elizabeth has a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Cambridge and Bsc (Hons) in Genetics from the University of Aberdeen. She has depth to her knowledge that spans commercial, life science, healthcare and data from working with numerous corporates, academic institutes and running her own consultancy business for over 10 years.

Elizabeth has hands on experience of the challenges and opportunities that start-ups face. In 2014, Elizabeth graduated as a Saltire Fellow after completing a world class, 8-month entrepreneurial business leadership programme led with Babson College, Boston. In 2016, Elizabeth joined Talking Medicines as a Founder and her role as COO primarily involves raising investment and leading on the development of the Medsmart® – a data solution of UK community curated medicines that drives the effective use of medicines with social good.

Talking Medicines was co-founded in 2013 having seen an opportunity for better communication and support on the medicines prescribed between patients and doctors. TalkingMedicines developed an exciting data tech business to improved insight on how patients take their medicines.

Ewa Luger
Alan Turing Institute

Ewa Luger is a Chancellor’s Fellow in Digital Arts and Humanities, University of Edinburgh, a fellow of the Alan Turing Institute (London), and deputy director of research at the Edinburgh Futures Institute. She currently sits on the Scottish AI Strategy steering group, the programme advisory board for the EPSRC (Digital Economy), and Facebook’s ‘Algorithms & the Public Interest’ expert advisory group. Her work explores applied ethical issues within the sphere of machine intelligence and data-driven systems. This encompasses practical considerations such as data governance, consent, privacy, and how intelligent networked systems might be made intelligible to the user. Prior to Edinburgh, Ewa was a fellow at Corpus Christi College (University of Cambridge) and a researcher at Microsoft Research (UK). Beyond academia, she builds upon 15 years of research in the third sector (digital exclusion) and now regularly works with industry partners such as Microsoft, Facebook, DMA and the BBC.

Maggie Philbin – will be hosting our Data Summit event again this year
Broadcaster & CEO
Teen Tech

Maggie Philbin has worked in radio and television for over 30 years on a wide range of science, medical and technology programmes. She is co-founder and CEO of TeenTech CIC, an award winning organisation helping young people, their parents and teachers understand more about the real opportunities in Science,Technology and Engineering. In 2016 Maggie was named as the Most Influential Woman in UKIT by Computer Weekly Magazine and was also named as 2016 Digital Leader of the Year. In 2017 she received an OBE for her work with TeenTech.She is Patron of the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing and former President (2014-8) of the Institute of Engineering DesignersShe is a popular and entertaining speaker at conferences and award ceremonies, bringing a unique and insightful perspective on technology, diversity and innovation.

DataTech20 Keynote speakers

Erin LeDell
Chief Machine Learning Scientist,

Erin LeDell is the Chief Machine Learning Scientist at, where she leads the development of an open source, automatic machine learning (AutoML) platform. Before joining, she worked as a data scientist and software engineer and founded DataScientific, Inc. She’s also the founder of a non-profit advocacy organization, Women in Machine Learning & Data Science ( and co-founder of R-Ladies Global ( She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley where her research focused on machine learning.

Janelle Shane
Scientist and writer,

Colorado-based optics and AI researcher, Dr Janelle Shane creates computer-controlled holograms for studying the brain, as well as other light-steering devices. She is also the maintainer of the popular science blog, which has been covered by WIRED, The Atlantic, NBC News, and Slate, and was even featured as a quiz question on ‘Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me’ – a popular radio panel show produced in Chicago. Janelle is also a 2019 TED fellow, and some of her most popular experiments have included algorithms that try to generate recipes, paint colors, cat names, and candy heart messages – all examples designed to highlight the reasons to be sceptical of, and look more closely at AI. Janelle has written for the New York Times, the New Yorker, Popular Science, and Slate. Her book You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How AI Works and Why It’s Making the World a Weirder Place is an accessible, hilarious exploration of the present and future of artificial intelligence.

Why not come along and see them on stage? Book your tickets now.

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